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Xbox Live Indie Games is gently being disabled by the end of 2017


Today, XNA Game Studio developers who have been registered members to self-publish Xbox Live Indie Games on Xbox 360 received a nicely worded email today, indicating that the XBLIG would no longer be functioning by the end of 2017. The email is very nice and even offers tokens to upgrade to ID@Xbox and Windows 10 development as a result of this decision. The full email is after the jump.

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Orbitron: Revolution Review

– Scott Ellison

Our Score: 4 / 5 – Awesome

Orbitron: Revolution is an interesting entry into the shoot’em up genre, or shmup. There’s no fluff of a story or anything, which to some can be it’s detriment as it’s a lack of content or something that just gets in the way of gameplay. For me, it’s the latter. What you’ll get is a focus on a gradual ramping of difficulty and enjoyment of your time.

You get three modes in Orbitron: Countdown, Guardian, and Extra. Countdown is a mode in which time is ticking down from three minutes and you must score as many points as you can before time is up, by getting combos and using the level effectively to maximize your score. Guardian is a protective mission-type in which the four gates are being attacked and you must protect them all or lose the fight. Lastly is Extra, a survival mode in which hordes of enemies teleport in and you must destroy for points as well as not get hit even once, or the game is over.

The level layout is Orbitron is not like many shmups right now. You are confined onto the orbital plane of the space station and must defend it from the attackers in each mode. It’s really neat to see the edges of space as you go around the platform. With it, there are speed gates that propel you from A, B, C, and D gates expediently so you can keep the enemies at bay. Being able to know when you should attack or come around for another pass at the enemy is something you have to decide. While the focus is on action, being tactical in your decision-making will ensure a high score for you at the end. The game also features Milestones, aka Achievements that offer extended plays and alternate methods.

One of the unfortunate things about the game is the camera.  While I fully understand why it behaves the way it does, it’s a bit jarring how it sways if you flip your ship left and right. But as I said, given the context it’s fully understandable – I just wish it was less swimmy. The two ships are virtually identical, all except in color. However, the color of the ships tend to blend in with the background and other effects. I don’t know of a better solution other than oddball colors like purple and lime green to make them stand out better. Leaderboards are in the game, but on PC only track the local scores you’ve set. However, if you buy on Xbox Live Indie Games, you get to see the high scores of your friends if they have played it as well.

All in all, this is an affordable indie game that’s been well crafted and plays just fine. It won’t blow you away, but it will keep you coming back for more. Alternatively, you can buy on Xbox Live Indie Games for just $1

Retails for: $4.99, recommended purchase price: $3.99

A PC digital copy of the game was provided by Firebase Industries for Review purposes


Sequence Review

– Scott Ellison

Our Score: 4 / 5 – Awesome

When Sequence was released, I wrote a story of how you could get the game for free (and still can if on NeoGAF). I felt it would be fair if I received the game for free, as I did – I should treat it as other complimentary copies of games we get and review it.

Hybrids are all around us: combat racing games, puzzle RPGs, first person / real time strategy, Prius’, and even peanut butter and jelly. Iridium Studios brings us a mash-up of two genres not likely to be friends: music and RPG. Sequence takes what made DDR famous and mashes it with RPG nature of battling enemies, gathering loot, and levelling up – combining to be one unusual, yet refreshing take thanks to this indie developer.

I’ll admit, music games haven’t been interesting to me in many years now. But playing Sequence made it enjoyable and interesting. The story starts off simple and witty banter is passed back and forth to no end, proving many laughs and references to internet memes abound. A lot of it also gets very self-referential, breaking the fourth wall in that games exist, and what this guy is experiencing is all too familiar. You are guided by a strange woman’s voice who provides the back-talk from your snarky self. There are no dialogue options to choose, but there are lengthy discussions between battles and locations – all voiced over with beautiful art and text bubbles.

You’re given plenty of tutorial time to learn the basics, how to set yourself up for battle and what each component does. I felt this to be one of the strongest attributes to the game as it introduced this hybrid genre well, allowing you to adapt accordingly.  The game does an excellent job at explaining the mechanics. This is one of those games where you need the tutorial or you’ll be turned off quite quickly.

Actually playing the game requires some multitasking though. You have 3 panes to manage: Spell, Mana, and Defense. Spell is your active attack. When initiated, arrows drop from top to bottom and you must sync them up as close as possible for the best attack. Mana is a window pane where you can miss most of the arrows and will have no negative affect on you until you run out of mana from casting spells. Defense is a pane you should focus mostly on so you don’t take too much damage and lose the fight. All panes are visible, but the center pane is active and what is accepting the button presses.

Spells are chosen before you battle, and slots are increasing at the game’s pace, but you can select them from a wheel and can be cast as soon as the cooldown timer has reset and you have the required mana to cast. Each floor of the hotel you are in has three enemies to fight with unique characteristics and common, rare, and treasure items to obtain to either progress in the game or progress your character into being stronger and better.

I was able to play this with a keyboard (no mouse input needed) with ease on PC. Once I plugged in my Xbox 360 controller, the game’s interface buttons changed to a 360 pad (no surprise given this was developed for Xbox Live Indie Games as well).  There are times where the game demands two arrows to be pressed, here you can use WASD and the Arrow Keys to express them properly without being ridiculous dexterous. Both control types are well suited for combat and it’ll just end up being your preference when it comes to playing the game.

The game can be as long or as short as you want it to be or how lucky the loot drops become. For $5.00, you can do no wrong in picking up such a unique, funny game from Iridium Studios’ first outing. The music is fantastic, but the length of some conversations can wear on you and the meme references get in the way of being it’s own thing.

Retails for: $4.99, recommended purchase price: $4.99